Tour of Oeste Portugal

During my ten-day trip to Portugal, I spent the first three days with my friends Jon and Jackie at the Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf & Beach Resort.  The resort is centrally located between Óbidos, Nazaré, and Peniche all places we were interested in visiting in Oeste Portugal.

Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf & Beach Resort

While normally I would not pick an American Hotel in a foreign country, we had an enjoyable stay at the resort, a top 100 golf resort in Europe.  As we were busy sighting seeing in Oeste Portugal, we hardly took advantage of any of the resort amenities, but we enjoyed a remarkable dinner at one of its restaurants, Emprata.

The way the menu was priced, it was only about $5 more to get a three-course tasting meal, than an appetizer and an entrée, so we went all out.  We were all thrilled we did.  The plating, garnished with edible flowers, was exquisite.   And all our food…divine! 


Things to Do in Nazaré

Nazaré is a popular seaside town on the Silver Coast in the Oeste region of Portugal.  It is most famous for its giant waves which attract world renowned surfers during November, though the historic fishing village offers many other interesting things to do.

The Nazaré Canyon

One may wonder how the quiet surf of the summer turns into monstrous 100-foot waves in the winter.  It is due to the Nazaré Canyon.  The Nazaré Canyon, some 16,000 feet deep and Europe’s largest underwater canyon, is located just a few hundred feet offshore.

Several elements combine to contribute to the big waves in Nazaré.  The canyon’s depth causes waves to move toward shore with more speed than the waves on the shallow continental shelf.  Some of the fast-moving waves surge out of the deep canyon and combine with waves on the shallow continental shelf.  The result is a section of the wave which is effectively two waves stacked on top of each other.

The huge amount of water brought to shore is sometimes sucked back into the combined wave increasing its size even more.  Adding Atlantic storms and wind patterns to the mix, Nazaré ends up with some of the largest waves in the world.

us at obidos

A Day in Óbidos

History of Óbidos

Óbidos, located about an hour north of Lisbon off the Silver Coast, is one of the most well preserved and picturesque medieval villages in Portugal.  Its castle walls encompass a labyrinth of narrow roads which wend between whitewashed homes with red tiled roofs.

Over the years, Óbidos was famous among royals.  In the 13th century, King Dom Dinis gifted the village to his wife, Queen Isabel. The tradition continued for centuries.  Additionally, King Alfonso V and his cousin Princess Isabella of Coimbra married here at the ages of 9 and 10.  Consequently, Óbidos earned the nickname Village of Queens.


Free Giveaway Just in Time for Summer Travel

I’m pleased to announce a free giveaway in conjunction with GPSMyCity, a travel app that provides offline GPS guided maps for numerous cities.

For a limited time (May 03, 2023 – May 10, 2023), you can get a free, one-year premium membership. The membership provides access to all guides and articles available within the app along with offline GPS guided maps.

Start with one of my recently published articles below or check out thousands of other guides and walking tours in the app.

It only takes a few steps to claim your free, one-year premium membership (an $18.99 value).

  1. Download the GPSMyCity app.
  2. Register for a GPSMyCity user account
  3. Go to the “More” Screen and “Feedback” to send an email with the following claim code: 24390503

Remember, you only have ONE WEEK to claim your premium membership.

Annie at Estabrook

Postcard Apps for Writing Notes from Afar

Given most of the world is in lockdown due to COVID, this is probably not the best time to write an article about postcard apps that let you mail a note with your own photo from all over the world.  At the same time, they may still be used to cheer someone up during this difficult time and for the holiday season.

When I began traveling internationally for extensive trips, I wanted an easy way to say “hello” to my friends and family back home without having to hunt for a postcard, find a post office, and get the appropriate postage.


Paris: The City of Lights

My first visit to Paris was extremely impromptu.  One day I was talking to my friend Theresa about her upcoming trip to Paris, and the next week I was flying there with her.  Needless to say, she did all the planning including where to stay and what to see. 

Naturally, for our first time in the city, we stuck to the main attractions like (but not limited to) the Eiffel Tour, Notre Dame, the Louvre and miraculously, we hardly ever waited in a line, despite not having purchased advanced tickets.  I still don’t know how that worked out except maybe it was due to visiting in October.


Roland-Garros: All You Need to Know for the French Open

Buy Tickets Online

Roland-Garros has successfully eliminated scalping tickets at the French Open.  While it is possible to get tickets on third party sites or through a tour group beware that they are legitimate as names are assigned to the ticket during the 15-minute purchasing time slot.

moulin rouge at night

Féerie at the Moulin Rouge

My first visit to France several years ago was impromptu.  My dog had just passed away, and my friend was going to France the next week.  I jumped on board.  Needless to say, I had done little research and only knew that I’d like to see the famous sites like Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Louvre.  With slightly more planning under her belt, Theresa wanted to see Féerie at the Moulin Rouge.  Not knowing exactly what to expect, I was game.

We were seated feet away from the stage and enjoyed a spectacular show.  I liked it so much, that on my second visit to France, I went again.  Those who know me know that doing the same thing twice is very uncommon. 

We had such great seats which the venue selected on our behalf that I couldn’t risk get anything worse.  As such, I splurged for the VIP treatment. 

Lot River Valley

A Day in the Lot Valley

During my recent farm stay in the Corrèze region of France, I spent one day exploring the Lot and Célé valleys located in the Lot Department of France.  In my opinion, these valleys are just as pretty, if not prettier, than the nearby Dordogne Valley. The area is also less busy!  If I had to do it over again, I would spend two days visiting the area, or shorten the guidebook’s proposed drive that I followed in one day.

My guidebook recommended six stops over 100 miles in two days which included Grotte de Pech-Marle, Marcilhac-sur- Célé, Espagnac-Ste.-Eulalie, Figeac, Cajarc, and St.-Cirq-Lapopie.  I made four stops in one day after driving 1.5 hours south from Lagraulière to which I returned later.  Needless to say, it was long, yet very good day.

Continue reading “A Day in the Lot Valley”
view from chateau de beynac

Three Days in the Dordogne Valley


While visiting the Dordogne Valley, I recommend staying in Sarlat-la-Canéda and setting aside at least three days for exploring.  Sarlat is perfectly situated between amazing natural caves, sacred pilgrimage destinations, and picturesque riverside villages.  Not to mention, Sarlat itself is home to the highest concentration of medieval, Renaissance, and 17th-century architecture than any town in France.  It also hosts an incredible market.  For more details on Sarlat, visit my Sarlat post.